* 21st of May 1902 in Pécs, Ungarn
† 1st of July 1981 in New York
Marcel Lajos (“Lajko”) Breuer spends his childhood and youth in Pécs, the fifth largest city of Hungary, close the border with Croatia.
In 1920, he enrolls at the “Akademie der bildenden Künste“ in Vienna. That same year, however, Breuer drops out of the Viennese Art Academy and goes to Weimar to study at the Bauhaus. During the next four years, he works at the Bauhaus furniture shop and makes his instruction as joiner. In this period he produces his first architectural designs in coorperation with Walter Gropius, though he has no studies of architecture at university.
From 1925 until 1928, Marcel Breuer is head of the furniture workshop at the Bauhaus. During this period, he produces the design icons of the Bauhaus era such as the Cesca Chair, the Cesca Armchair and the Laccio Tables as well as his first tubular steel chair, which he presents in 1927 as the “Steel Club Chair B3“. Later, renaming this model “Wassily“, as he designs it for his colleague Wassily Kandinsky, also a member at Bauhaus. Kandinsky, 36 years older than Breuer teaches at Bauhaus in Weimar, Dessau and Berlin until 1933. He is a russian painter of the Expressionism and abstract arts aas well as an art theorist.
In 1926/27, the so-called "Breuer Crisis" arises at the Bauhaus, because Marcel Breuer co-founds, in parallel, the Standard Furniture Company with Hungarian architect Stefan Lengyel without first consulting the Bauhaus Board of Directors in order to arrange the copyrights. The above-mentioned famous designer pieces are subsequently made and marketed by the Standard Furniture Company in Berlin.
In all phases of his working life, Marcel Breuer would continue to apply other techniques and materials in his designs for standardized, reasonably priced furniture. Tubular steel being a basic element of his designs due to its availability and economical price.
As a result of the foundation of his architecture office in Berlin in 1928, the German Architecture Association (Bund Deutscher Architekten, BDA) refuses to admit him as a member for the next three years. Meanwhile, Marcel Breuer concentrates in interior designs, continuing to develop further his furniture style. In Zurich he designs the "Wohnbedarf", a furniture store.
In 1933, Marcel Breuer of Jewish descent, goes back to Hungary, to escape persecution by the Nazis. While in 1935, he moves to England and finally two years later to the USA. At the Harvard University School of Design he teaches fort the next nine years just as his Bauhaus Colleague Walter Gropius. For a short time they work togehther in a common architecture bureau. They produce the Pennsylvania Pavilion for the 1939 New York World's Fair as well as several private dwellings, including Gropius' own house.
Over the years, Marcel Breuer designs over 70 private houses as well as numerous university and office buildings including the Unesco Building in Paris (1953-1958), the Flushing Meadow Sports Grounds in New York (1960/61), the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (1966) and the IBM Laboratories at La Gaude in France.
Marcel Breuer is indeed one of the most important representatives of Modern Art.